Varsha Vats, B.Optom

Fellow Optometrist, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi, India


Let’s talk about whether dark chocolate is a suitable nutritional option for visual strength? Milk chocolate is highly demanded by people, from children to elders. However, when it comes to ocular health, a question arises, which chocolate is better, milk or dark? In this article, we will debate the preferential chocolate options for better visual performance by discussing some recent studies.

A study was conducted in 2018 comparing the effect of milk and dark chocolate consumption on visual performance. The visual optical performance was tested after 2 hours of consuming milk and dark chocolate for 30 participants (9 men and 21 women of mean (SD) age 26 (5 years). The result suggests that the composite scores combining all tests show significant improvement in visual performance after intake of dark chocolate when consumption compared to participants who consumed milk chocolate.(1) Another study published in the same year in 2018 by JAMA Ophthalmol defined that consumption of dark chocolate can improve blood flow, mood, and cognition in the short term. Still, limited information is available regarding the possible effects of dark chocolate on visual performance.(1)  Different tests were conducted at Rosenberg School of Optometry from June 25, 2015 to August 15, 2015, to analyse the effects of dark chocolate on visual performance. The results indicated that dark chocolate might improve visual performance, however, the effects were not long-lasting, and further research is necessary for a comprehensive analysis of the effects and practicality of dark chocolate as a solution to visual ailments.(1)

Currently, in the field of vision science, glaucoma is one of the most dangerous eye diseases. It causes a rise in increased ocular pressure that results in the damaged optic nerve. Lowering the Intraocular Pressure (IOP) is considered a highly effective treatment to reduce the symptoms of the disease. There are many other therapies for glaucoma, called non-IOP lowering treatments.(2) Many of these, like the intake of magnesium, salt, Ginko, and fludrocortisone, stand recommended by physicians, while others are still in the testing phase.

Experimentally, the inhibition of astrocyte activation, which could be done either by blockage of epidermal growth factor receptor or by counteracting endothelin, helps prevent glaucomatous optic neuropathy.(2)

The intake of dark chocolate is highly efficacious for the treatment of glaucoma. It is a rich source of fibre, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and minerals and is a powerful antioxidant.(3) These nutrients affect our blood vessels positively and aid in healing damage to the lining, thus relaxing the muscle and improving blood flow.(3) Antioxidants neutralise free radicals and prevent oxidative stress.(3) Oxidative stress refers to the damage that an excessive amount of free radicals can inflict on cells and tissues in the body.(4) The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbs Capacity) level indicated that dark chocolate contains 70% of antioxidants.(3) These include compounds such as flavonoids and polyphenols.(4) Additionally, it contains biologically active organic compounds and functions as antioxidants.(4) Flavonoids rich in dark chocolate increase the blood flow, which results in better visual performance.

Whether to use dark chocolate or not as a treatment for visual disorders, the research is still going on; till then, enjoy the dark chocolate for taste.



  1. Rabin JC, Karunathilake N, Patrizi K. Effects of milk vs dark chocolate consumption on visual acuity and contrast sensitivity within 2 hours: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136 (6):678–81.
  2. Mozaffarieh M, Flammer J. Is there more to glaucoma treatment than lowering IOP? Surv Ophthalmol. 2007;52 (6):S174–9.
  3. Gunnars K. Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate. Режим Доступу Httpswww Heal Comnutrition7-Health-Benefits-Darkchocolate TOCTITLEHDR1. 7;
  4. Clary K, Kolasa K. Benefits of dark chocolate. 2019;